Jay-Z’s off-script approach to writing inspired Ne-Yo, who co-wrote “It’s All Good” using inspiration from tweets and Instagrams. “I’m trying to escape the shackles of a pen and a pad,” he said. “I’ve sat in sessions with Jay-Z where he doesn’t write anything down. He’ll come up with the most incredible triple entendre all in his head — it’s amazing. That was the main thing that attracted me was just trying something new, which could be a new revenue stream in that regard.”
Ne-Yo is also busy these days supporting his late 2012 release “R.E.D.,” his David Guetta/Akon single “Play Hard,” signing new acts as an A&R rep at Motown, and guesting on Ciara’s new “Body Party” remix.
Additionally, he’s still actively working on Celine Dion’s still-unscheduled upcoming album, for which they’ve already recorded a cover of Adele and Daniel Merriweather’s “Water And A Flame” and contributed other tracks for more than a year now. “I’m still writing for her,” he says. “I just recently got a call to do some more songs, so I know she’s doing some more work.”
And then there’s his own next album, which is still in the conceptual phase but will likely be “predominantly R&B,” he says. His latest top 10 on the Hot 100 was the Sia-penned “Let Me Love You,” a four-on-the-floor dance ballad that overshadowed the performance of R.E.D.’s R&B-leaning singles like “Lazy Love” and “Jealous,” both of which failed to crack top 40.
“I’m really excited about what’s happening in R&B right now,” he says. “I want to see what my place is in the whole thing. That’s not to say I’m abandoning the EDM genre. I’ve gotten so much unimaginable love from that fanbase and that genre. It’s really rare that an entire genre of music allows an artist from a different genre to come and live there. By no means am I abandoning that, but I definitely know I need to take care of my core — the thing that got me here in the first place. I don’t feel like I’ve given it the attention it deserves.”